Jack woke in a strange, dark bedroom to a moan that was anything but sexual. "Wha... ?" he mumbled.
Jennifer groaned. "Oh, Jack. I feel horrible. I think something is wrong with me."
This was enough to bring Jack to nearly full awareness. The digital clock by the bed read 3:45. "What's wrong?"
"Well, I have a splitting headache, and my belly, well..." she put her fingers over her mouth and urped. Jack thought quickly.
"Jennifer, I wish for you to be perfectly healthy so that you can give me a nice, sensual massage to help me get back to sleep."
She relaxed and sighed. "Thank you master. What was that? It was most unpleasant."
"A hangover from drinking too much, with a case of the pukes thrown in for good measure, or it would have been if we hadn't stopped it in time. THAT would have been unpleasant."
"Very well. I will never drink again."
Jack couldn't help but laugh, so he muffled it with his pillow.
"What is so funny?"
"Everyone says that after their first hangover. Give it a week or two. You'll have another drink. You'll just be more careful."
Whatever you say. Now turn over on your stomach."
"That's ok. You don't really have to give me a massage. It was just the first thing that popped into my head to get rid of your hangover before you puked all over the bed."
"Well, if you want the bed to continue to remain puke-free, then you had better let me give you a massage."
"Because that was your wish. If you go back on your wish, that's pretty much like undoing it, and in this case probably isn't a good idea."
"Oh! Ok." He rolled to lie on his stomach. Jennifer straddled his legs and began to massage his back, adding some oil she obtained from wherever sex Genies get such stuff. At most any other time, this would have had Jack both relaxed and aroused. At 3:45 in the morning, it quickly had him blissfully asleep once more.
The next time he became aware of the world around him, it was light, he was lying on his back, and there was still someone straddling his legs. He looked down to find Sharron sitting on him, dressed in an old t-shirt, still looking just a bit sleepy with attractively rumpled morning hair. She smiled at him. "Skip is still asleep, so I thought I'd come give my guest a proper good morning."
"Uh..."Jack realized that he was quite possibly about to have an old fantasy fulfilled. Skip used to brag that he never needed an alarm clock because Sharron always blew him awake. Jack figured this was at least an exaggeration, if not complete bullshit. That hadn't prevented him from frequently fantasized about being awakened the same way, though. He had Jennifer doing the same and more for him now - in fact, he wouldn't be surprised if the fantasy about Sharron was the root of Jennifer's similar habit - but he still found the possibility of the realization of that old fantasy extremely exciting.
Meanwhile, Sharron shucked off her t-shirt, again revealing her lovely, slender figure. She leaned over his crotch, supporting herself with one hand on the bed by his hip, her hair hanging to conceal her face as she looked down at his genitals, and reached out with her free hand to gently grasp his quickly hardening shaft. "Good Lord, this thing is a monster," she murmured as she slowly started to stroke him.
Once he was fully erect, she released him long enough to tuck her hair behind her ears, then grasped the root of his shaft and lowered her mouth to him. She swirled her tongue around his head, and he moaned. Grinning her lopsided, uni-dimple grin around her tongue, she swirled a while longer, and then sucked him in. Her head leisurely bobbed up and down, sucking him in a bit further each time, until he felt his cock-tip make contact with the back of her throat. She didn't slow, though, and his rod disappeared further and further between her lips.
Finally, with about two inches to go, she seemed to reach her limit. She bobbed a few more times, and then released him with a small 'pop.' "Man, you sure are a challenge. Time for a little break."
With that, she scooted back so her crotch was between his ankles and lay down on his legs. She returned her hand to stroking him while she tilted and lowered her head to attack his balls with lips and tongue. She explored every square inch, and would have had him squirming if not for holding his legs still, especially when she gently sucked one testicle into her mouth and tickled it with it with her tongue.
It was a new experience for him, as even Genie's ghost mouths had not done this, and he just about spewed. A few minutes later she switched balls and gave the other the same treatment. She then tried to go for both, giving him a few accidental and not completely comfortable squeezes and pinches. He didn't mind in the least, though, as both the idea and watching her try to accomplish it were incredibly hot. Finally she gave up and gave him another grin. "Definitely a challenge. Maybe next time."
She lifted her head up far enough to take his cock back in, then started bobbing, sucking, and tonguing aggressively, with the obvious intention of making him explode. It wasn't long before her success approached. Out of courtesy, he said, "My eruption draws nigh." The only reaction that got was what he assumed to be a chuckle.
A few seconds later he was pumping into her. She tried to swallow every drop, but one or two trickled down her chin. When he was spent, she released him with another pop, then looked down at the small pool on his lower stomach. She shook her head, smirked and said "damn" softly. She then surprised him by bobbing down one more time to lick up the extra before looking up at him. "I never leave leftovers."
He expected her to pop out of existence after that, as was usual for his morning visitors, but she didn't. A little nonplussed, he looked around. Where the hell was Jennifer? He looked back at Sharron and said, "Um, can I return the favor? I lick pretty well."
She gave a tempted purr as she hopped up and retrieved her shirt. "Maybe next time." She said again. "Sorry about the rush at the end, but his highness will be waking soon. He may very well have to make do with a 69 this morning, though. Oh," she pointed to his balls, "I understand that feels even better when they are hairless. Also, they take up a bit less room, if you know what I mean."
Jack played along. "Humming is also very nice."
"Oh? For which, cock or balls?"
"Both, probably, but definitely cock. And clit too, if done properly, I think."
She slapped her forehead. "Hummer! Got it. I feel stupid, but I never made the connection. I'm sure Skip will be quite appreciative. Shall I tell him the idea came from you?"
"Kidding! Got to run." With that, she headed for the door. As she passed through it, there was the sound of a commode flushing from their private bathroom, and Jennifer opened the door and came out.
"Morning Jack!" She gave a small pout, "I was hoping you weren't awake, yet. I didn't get to play."
Jack's head swiveled back and forth between her and Sharron disappearing down the hall. "Did she... did you... was that really her?"
Jennifer frowned. "Was what really who?"
Jack narrowed his eyes at her. So that was the game, was it?
"What?" She asked at his look.
"Where have you been?"
"In the bathroom," she said, pointing over her shoulder with a look that said this should be perfectly obvious to anyone.
"Are you ok? You were in there an awfully long time."
"Oh, yes, I'm fine, thanks to your wish earlier this morning." She pointed over her shoulder again, "Sharron put the most interesting magazines in there."
"I bet." He rose and gave her a smooch on the way to replace her in the john. Relieving himself noisily of the previous night's beer, he saw that there were, indeed, several magazines in a rack. He shook his head, then invited Jennifer back in to join him for a quick shower. She immediately started fooling around, and noticed his cock's sluggish response.
"Is something wrong, Jack?" She looked up at him questioningly. He smirked.
"No, must just be an after-effect of the alcohol. I'll be fine if you keep that up."
"I can do that," she said naughtily.
He switched tactics. "Can you tell me what Skip and Sharron are doing at the moment?" She looked at him expectantly, so he added, "Are they doing anything 'interesting'?"
Her eyes unfocused and flashed, then widened. "Yes, they are enjoying some... mutual oral stimulation. How did you know?"
"Uh, lucky guess." Jack's rod was instantly hard again, while at the same time he felt a bit guilty. Had it really been her? Nah, no way. But...
They fooled around to a quick orgasm each, and then got out to try to preserve some hot water for the other guys. Dressing, they made their way to the kitchen to find a freshly showered Sharron already puttering around once more. "Morning guys! Coffee?"
"Sure." They both said. Jack watched Sharron closely, but other than a friendly smile, there was nothing. No 'wink, wink, nudge, nudge, ' nothing. He gave up.
We don't really have much breakfast stuff, as Skip likes to hit one of the brunch buffets on Sunday. You guys up for that?
Jack and Jennifer exchanged a look. Jennifer gave a 'sounds good to me' shrug and nod. "Sure," Jack said again. Sharron laughed.
"You guys sure are talkative, this morning."
"Sorry. Any stirrings from Betsy and Robert, yet?"
"Well," she lowered her voice, "there was this certain thwacking sound I heard earlier coming from their room. I just looked on the porch, and Skip's little paddle is missing, so I think we can safely say that a certain suspicion has pretty much been confirmed." She switched back to her normal speaking level, "In any event, I think we can assume they are awake, and will probably show up before too much longer."
Sure enough, a few minutes later the pair appeared, scrubbed clean, Betsy looking happy and a little smug, Robert looking happy and a little embarrassed. "Morning, everyone!" Betsy said brightly. "Where's Skip?"
"Being his usual slow self. I'll go prod him along. The four of us are going to a brunch buffet. Want to come?"
They exchanged similar glances, and then said, "Sure." Sharron laughed again and shook her head as she went to collect Skip.
The six of them enjoyed a leisurely and belly-stuffing brunch, and then parted ways amiably, all promising to get together again soon. As they drove away, Jack said, "In the cold light of day, without the fog of alcohol, I'm wondering if what we did to Robert is a good idea. Was it too drastic for them to accept? I mean, there's really no logical explanation for it that they could come up with."
"Well, they seem to have adapted to it quickly and enthusiastically. They have had no problem putting it to good use already, and would be quite disappointed if it went away again. I think they'll be alright."
"If you say so."
She shrugged. "We can always fix it, if we discover that there is a problem."
They drove a bit longer, until they passed a new movie theater. On the spur of the moment, Jack said, "Want to go see a movie?"
"Sure!" Jennifer said, and laughed.
Jennifer was so enamored with the movie experience - including the popcorn, which Jack had no idea how she ate, as he was still stuffed from brunch - that they made it a double feature, and didn't get home until early evening.
Finally a little hungry, Jack fixed them a snack, and they settled down to a mixture of regular and adult programming. At one point, Jennifer was flipping randomly through the adult channels. "Fake... terrible acting... fake... ouch!... physically impossible," she looked at Jack and qualified, "well, you know, for mere mortals." She went back to her flipping, and found an amateur movie; real people doing stuff that they actually appeared to enjoy doing. "That's better. You know, a lot of porn is pretty bad."
"Yep." Jack agreed.
Jack asked his alarm clock to please get him up in time to start showering and dressing at eight the next morning, leaving it to her to determine how much earlier she should start. She had him ready right on time, and in her usual spectacular fashion. After showering, dressing and a quick breakfast, he told her, "You're coming with me this time. Wear something nice."
She looked excited and nervous. "I am?"
"Yep." He hit the computer to scan the fliers that Nick had given him to convert for use on FI's current website while Jennifer frantically tried to decide what to wear. Once he had the site additions ready, he edited the contracts to be signed, and included a couple of different versions, as he had come up with another idea or two over the weekend. "Ready?"
"I think so. Does this look ok?"
He looked at her, and his mouth dropped open. She wore a hunter green silk blouse and charcoal grey slacks over black patent leather dress boots. Her face showed just the slightest hint of flattering makeup, and her deep red hair was beautifully coifed. "You look stunning."
She smiled her special smile. "Thanks. I guess I'm ready, then." She made sure to brush a sleeve against him as they went out the door. "It's Arabian silk, you know," she said with a grin.
They drove to Forbidden Indulgences, arriving a few minutes before one. They entered the lobby, and were greeted cheerfully by Jamie. "Good afternoon, Mr. Phillips and..." she turned to Jennifer, and her heart visibly sank a bit.
"Jamie, this is my associate, Jennifer Holiday. Jennifer, this is Forbidden Indulgences' hardest working employee, executive assistant Jamie Aron."
Jamie blushed at the outrageous flattery as she shook Jennifer's proffered hand. "It's nice to meet you, Ms. Holiday."
"It is nice to meet you, Ms. Aron. I so look forward to working with you."
A bit flustered, Jamie turned to Jack. "They asked me to send you to the meeting room again. Do you need me to show you the way?"
"Mmm, yes, please. I think I have forgotten the way since last time." He hadn't, and she knew it, but she happily played along. She wound up staying with them, talking and laughing, until Nick, Alice, and Susan entered. Jack said, "Thank you, Ms. Aron. You have been very helpful." She smiled, blushed slightly, and left the room, closing the door behind her.
Jack turned to find all eyes on Jennifer, who smiled calmly in return. "Nick, Alice, Ms. Cooper, this is Jennifer Holiday, my associate. Jennifer, this is Nick Bremer, President, Alice White, shipping and receiving manager and Susan Cooper, VP in charge of purchasing." Jennifer shook hands with all three.
"Um," Nick said, "is she, you know, the same one that..."
Jennifer's smile grew at his hesitancy, and she said, "Yes, Mr. Bremer. That is me in the photos on the demo website, and it will be me on your actual site, unless you want someone else. The same goes for the video clips and voice-overs."
"Uh, ' Nick said, glancing at the others, "no, I think you will do fine..." he cleared his throat and regrouped, "and please call me Nick."
"Very well. Thank you, Nick."
"Ok, so what first, today? Signing the contract, I assume?"
"Yes, although I have something else to run by you, first. It's a little unorthodox, both in its timing and perhaps its content, so if you object, we can go back to what we discussed on Friday." He handed out three stapled contract copies.
"I had a thought over the weekend that, in designing your website to try to gain you the most sales, we - I and Jennifer - are acting as somewhat of a sales team for your company. With that in mind, I wrote this contract with a much lower initial payment for your website, but added a commission that would kick in once your site reaches a certain sales level each month. Nick, you gave me some figures on what your site is doing now, and I based this on those figures. I don't get any commission until the new one exceeds what the old one did each month. Otherwise, the rest of the contract is the same as what we discussed.
"So what's our advantage in doing this?" Ms. Cooper asked suspiciously.
"You get your website at much cheaper initial cost, and you know I have incentive to make it as successful as possible."
"So what do you get out of it?"
"I plan to make it very successful, and earn both of us lots of money," Jack said, grinning, then continued, "I'm sure you want to discuss it, so what say I go ahead and put these new products on your current website. That should take me about half an hour. All I need from you is to show me how you access your web server."
"I can do that," Nick said, then turned to Alice, "I don't think you need to be in on our number crunching, unless you just want to." Alice gave a 'not particularly' shrug. "Would you mind showing Ms Holiday..."
"Jennifer, please." Jennifer interrupted with a smile. Nick couldn't help but smile back.
"... Jennifer, around a bit while Jack works?"
Alice grinned at Jennifer, who returned the gesture. "Sure! Come on, girl. My guys and gals are going to be useless knowing you are around modeling the toys until they get bored with the idea. Might as well get that process going now."
"Really? I would have thought that working here, they would..." The rest was lost as they disappeared down the hall.
"Right this way, Jack." Nick led Jack to a small office with a couple of PCs and miscellaneous networking cables and equipment arranged in one corner."
"There it is. Switch that box 'A' and then use the id and password taped to the monitor to access the website. At least, that's what our old web guy told me."
Jack looked at the setup for a moment, then said, "Nick, in light of an issue at a recent client, I feel I should mention something. My quote is based on serving your website from commercial web servers that I lease. The advantages to this are many; better bandwidth and more reliable, redundant hardware just to name a couple."
"And the down side?"
"Well, your website no longer lives here. You have lost your direct control over it. If at some point you decide to end our contract, everything I have designed for you is your property, per the contract, but you would have to find someone else to post and host it for you. The contract doesn't allow me to leave you high and dry; there is a 30 day clause in it. Not that I would, anyway. I don't do business that way. Pretty much everything I have just told you is also in the contract, but I wanted to make sure you understand."
"Thank you, Jack. What would be the possibility of hosting the site here?"
"You could certainly do that. From what I see here, to meet the goals you have set, you would need to spend a couple thousand on new hardware and equipment. Once that was in place, you would need to replace that cable modem connection with something faster and more reliable, which would have a startup cost plus several hundred dollars a month, probably more if you served the video clips. I can get you more specific figures if you want."
"I see. That does add quite a bit to the cost. Doesn't it take up a big chunk of what you are charging us for you to do all that?"
Jack smiled. "Not quite as much. It's cheaper for me to lease the servers and a chunk of a huge data pipe than it is for you to lease your own smaller pipe by yourself."
"I see... I think." He paused. "I trust you Jack. What do you recommend?"
"Use my leased servers," Jack said without hesitation. "They give much fewer opportunities for headaches, will cost you less in the long run, have guaranteed performance and up-time, are much easier to scale-up if you, we, are as successful as I hope we are, and you don't have to worry about any of the additional equipment costs, other than the possibly increased bandwidth charges. And if for some reason I fall off the earth, you can still have your website retrieved and find someone else to post and host it for you."
"Sounds good. Well, I'll leave you to it and go discuss this with Susan."
It was slightly more complicated than Nick had said to get into the web server, but Jack figured it out. He quickly noticed that there did not seem to be any routine backup of the web server being performed. As a matter of fact, it didn't appear to have ever been backed up at all. Now very nervous, Jack stopped and went to find Nick.
"Come," he heard when he knocked on Nick's office door. He opened it, and found Nick and Susan in interrupted discussion. Susan looked a bit miffed at the interruption, but Nick just looked curious.
"Nick, I have just had a look at your server, and I don't find that any backup of it is being or has ever been performed."
Nick's eyes widened. "I'm not very tech literate, but even I know that isn't a good thing."
"No, sir, very dangerous."
"Why? It's been running all this time without a problem, hasn't it?" Ms. Cooper asked.
"Yes Ma'am, but that's kind of like saying I have never used my spare tire, so why do I need one? As they say, 'past performance is no guarantee of future results.' All your data is stored on one hard drive in that PC, a stack of little disks that spin constantly, 24 hours a day. All moving parts go bad eventually. Plus, that PC is meant to be a personal workstation, not a server. It isn't as well built, and the components aren't as rugged."
"Don't you think you are exaggerating things a bit, Mr. Phillips?"
"No Ma'am. In fact, probably just the opposite. Let me put it to you this way: if the majority of my income depended on that PC in there, I would be scared absolutely shitless, pardon my French. Getting that thing backed up would be my very top priority. I can think of nothing that would be more important. If that hard drive dies, so does your website. And if there is no backup, your website is gone. Obviously that won't matter in a couple of weeks, but between now and then..."
"Can't you just put the new products on it and let it run like it is until the new one is up?" Ms. Cooper asked.
"No offense, Ms. Cooper, but I am not going near that PC again to do anything until a backup is performed."
"Can you back it up, Jack?" Nick asked.
"I can, but there would be two requirements. One, there would have to be an agreement that, should anything happen to your web site at any time, I am not to be held responsible."
"But, that's preposterous! You could do anything you like! We can't agree to that." Ms Cooper fumed.
"Ms. Cooper, I'm sorry that your website is in such a dangerous situation, but I had nothing to do with putting it there. I will not put myself in a position where I am blamed for someone else's lack of forethought."
"But..." Ms. Cooper looked about to launch into a tirade, but Nick interrupted her.
"He's right, Susan. This is our fault, not his. He's just trying to look out for our best interests, if I read him right." Nick sighed deeply, and then turned back to Jack. "You said there were two requirements."
It was Jack's turn to sigh. "Yes, sir. The easiest and fastest way at this point would be to simply copy your entire web site to another drive, or to burn it to something like a CD. However, the web site would have to be shut down temporarily to do that."
"Copying files like that usually won't get the ones that are open. With the site running, many of the web site's files, important ones, will be open, and won't be copied."
"How long would that take? Taking it down and backing it up, I mean." Nick asked.
Jack shrugged. "Probably about two hours. So, say three, just to cover anything unexpected." He figured one hour, but was covering his ass.
"Could we perhaps do it tomorrow morning first thing? That's our least busy time."
"Sure. Just hope and pray that nothing happens to the hard drive before then."
"Are we really in that much danger?" Ms. Cooper asked incredulously.
Jack shrugged again. "Impossible to say. I've seen a hard drive die within a day of taking it out of the box - that's very rare, admittedly - and I've seen ancient PC's, i.e. 10 years old, with hard drives still humming away. There's no way of telling. I know one thing, I won't sleep well tonight, and it isn't my web server."
"So, once you get the backup done, then we are good?" Nick asked.
"Well, better. If the hard drive were to die after that, then at least your website would be saved up to the point of backup. You would still have to get another drive, load it with everything, put the website back on it, etcetera. That would probably take a day or so. And keep in mind that anything that was changed between the last backup and the time the hard drive dies would be lost, including the latest orders, stuff like that. I know that most of the actual credit card info is transmitted periodically, but... "
Is this something that we will have to worry about when our site is on your web server?" Nick asked.
"Nope. The server is backed up every night, and the server's drives are redundant; that is, the data is stored on more than one disk, or sets of disks, simultaneously. If one disk goes bad, the other disk keeps running while the bad disk is replaced. That's the 'redundancy' part I mentioned earlier."
"Ah. Any chance we could put our current site on it until the new one is done?"
Jack thought for a moment, "Yesss, but it would take some re-tweaking of your existing site. The software it is running under on that PC won't run on the server, so I would have to re-do things like the shopping cart, stuff like that. It would take a couple of days, and that would delay your new site. It's up to you."
Nick sighed again. "Ok, while we need the old site up, I want to get to the new one going as soon as we can. Let's get the old one backed up, and then get to work on the new one."
"Sounds good. I'll let you get back to your discussion, and..."
"We're done, I think," Nick said, looking at Ms. Cooper, who didn't look like she agreed. "We're going to go with you second proposal."
"Great! Do you want to go ahead and take care of the paperwork now, or... ?"
"Now is fine, Jamie, our receptionist, is also a Notary, so we are all set." They did a final read-through of the contract, and then brought Jamie in to witness and notarize the signatures.
"Well, that's done. What next?" Nick asked.
Jack looked at his watch. "Well, we still have a couple of hours. Can you show me the areas where we will be working? Perhaps we can go ahead and start preparing for the photography."
"Sure, right this way." He led Jack toward the warehouse area, while Ms. Cooper peeled off to go do something else. They passed Alice and Jennifer along the way, and collected Jennifer while allowing Alice to get back to work.
How'd it go? Jack asked.
Great! This should be fun. Oh, and Alice is a sweet, fun, but naughty little old lady.
Do I want to look at her tote board?
Jennifer shrugged. Up to you. He could hear the grin in her voice. But you have been fairly warned; she is a naughty little old lady.
Their dialog was interrupted by arriving at their destination. One remote corner of the warehouse had been converted into a photo booth, a large curtain making up the third wall. It had some fairly decent lighting equipment, Jack saw with his now expert erotic photographer's eye, thanks to a wish granted by Genie earlier.
"Here's the booth. It has some pretty good lighting and flash equipment, so the photographers have told me." Nick said, and Jack nodded that he agreed. "And here," he opened a door, "is your 'office'. It's actually a closet," he said a bit apologetically, "but it's empty, air-conditioned, has carpet, and has power and an internet hookup. Will it be ok, you know, once we get a desk in here and stuff?"
Jack smiled. "It will be fine for our needs. I'll have my laptop here to handle basic stuff, but most of the heavy duty initial site design I'll do on my workstation at home."
"Great." Nick looked at his watch. "I hate to desert you, but I need to make some phone calls and do a few things. Between the two of you, do you think you have the lay of the land enough to do what you need to do today?"
"Yep, I think so."
"Ok, I'll leave you to it. Just grab anyone if you have a question. Everyone is great to work with around here." Nick said, and then departed.
Jack sat in the floor of the 'office' and motioned Jennifer to join him. As he extracted his laptop from his bag, he asked, "What else have you learned besides Alice is naughty?"
"Well, I met the rest of her staff. Everyone is very nice, although from their reactions I think word has gotten around about part of my duties as your 'associate.' This sounds conceited, but I have a feeling that the area around the photo booth will soon be the path to get from anywhere to anywhere else."
"Really? Even with all the other women who have been photographed here, and looking at boxes with nude women doing interesting things with the contents all day?"
Jennifer shrugged. "I get the feeling that previous shoots have been fairly brief and hidden. This will be something very different."
"Does it bother you?"
Jennifer chuckled. "Potentially millions of people will soon be looking at my nude body on the internet. Why should these few bother me?"
"Well, this is live, and they can see you as a person. The internet will be anonymous, as no one will see your face or know who you are. Although, does that bother you?"
"No, that part is kind of exciting, knowing that folks will be looking at me, wondering who I am. As for this, no, although I assume you want to protect my anonymity here to some extent, as well."
Yep, please have it so that no photos or video make it out of here that could be used to identify you or embarrass us. As a matter of fact, none will even be taken that could identify you."
At this point, Jack was fairly sure the network connection was not working. "Hold on a minute, be right back." He walked to the 'server room', tiptoed around the web server box, and carefully traced the network connections coming out of the wall. He found one marked "warehouse closet/office" with masking tape, and sure enough, it wasn't connected to anything. Looking at the stack of network equipment, he saw that all the connections were full. "Great," he sighed, and went back to knock on Nick's door again. A moment later Nick opened it.
"I'm sorry to disturb you again. Is there someone else who I can bug about your computer stuff? I hate to keep coming to the president of the company about it."
Nick smiled and snorted. "Nope, not really. Why, is there another problem?"
"Not exactly a problem. I was trying to connect my laptop to the internet, and wasn't having any luck, so I went back into the computer room and found that the network cable isn't plugged in because all the ports in your network equipment are full. The indicators show that all the connections are active..." He tapered off when Nicked snapped his fingers."
"Dammit, I had forgotten about that. The employee I mentioned that did our website was also our part-time computer guru. He mentioned that there were a couple of connections in there not plugged in, and had planned to take care of that, but we never got around to it before he left."
"Well, I'm going tech shopping this evening, anyway. If you like I can pick you up another box like you have now and hook it up tomorrow. They are pretty cheap these days."
"Are you sure you don't mind doing that?" Nick asked.
"Well," Jack grinned, "computer guru work is usually extra, but I'll give you half a day free."
Nick smiled appreciatively, "Thanks, Jack. Tell me how much you think it will be and I'll get it out of petty cash."
Jack gave him a figure more than he thought it would be, just in case.
"Is that all?"
"Probably less. I'll bring you the change and receipt."
"Great." Nick disappeared for a moment, then came back and handed Jack the cash.
"Well, I think that's about all we can do for today. We'll come in tomorrow first thing to back up the server and get the network connections going, and then we'll start on the photography."
"Sounds great! Thanks again, Jack. See you in the morning."
"See you." Jack went back to the closet to collect Jennifer and his laptop. Unsurprisingly, he found a young man chatting with her, a soda in his hand. "Jack, this is Scott, one of Alice's guys. Scott, this is Jack, my boss."
Jack raised an eyebrow briefly at 'boss, ' then turned to Scott and shook his hand. "Nice to meet you, Scott. You know, I can't think of a job I would have rather had at your age. Your friends must be jealous."
Scott had a 'busted!' look on his face when Jack first walked up, but he relaxed at Jack's friendly attitude, perhaps more than he intended, as he said, "They will be now," before he could stop himself. His eyes got big and his face got red, "I mean, uh..."
Jack laughed, and Jennifer smiled, appearing a bit embarrassed but flattered. "Well, just don't let Alice catch you trying to peek. I get the feeling she'd give you an ear full."
Scott looked over his shoulder at the mention of Alice's name, and then said. "Uh, yeah. Well, my break's about over, so I guess I should get back to work."
As he backed out of the door, Jennifer waved and said. "Bye, Scott. See you tomorrow!"
Scott blushed again, waved, and fled.
You are a flirt and a tease, Jack admonished.
Yeah, so? she responded innocently.
Jack just grinned and shook his head as he packed up his laptop.
They headed for the lobby. As they passed Nick's office, they could hear Alice once again haranguing Nick about something. Jack grinned, but then heard his name. Alice was talking loud enough to be heard far down the hall. Jack knew he shouldn't, but couldn't resist, and pulled Jennifer into a nearby break room to listen.
YOU are extremely rude.
"... at first I figured Jack had Jennifer in here just for her looks, but let me tell you, she's sharp as a tack, and doesn't miss a trick, not to mention being as nice and down to earth as can be. And you know I've liked Jack since the first time he came in. I don't know what's got little Ms. Cooper's panties in a wad, but she needs to get over it. Those two are going to do a great job for us if we let them," Alice was saying.
Nick's response was harder to hear. "I agree with you. You know how Susan is. She'll come around. We just have to make sure she doesn't run them off before she does. Now, tell me about this week's shipping and returns numbers..."
Figuring he had pushed their luck far enough, Jack led Jennifer out to the lobby, where they said a mildly flirtatious good bye to Jamie before heading to the car.
"So, what else can you tell about Ms. Cooper. Are we in trouble? I hate the idea that we got free of one nightmare client situation, just to start another."
"Hmmm. Well, she's still a bit jealous over the sexual relationship she believes we are enjoying. Beyond that, she feels her turf is being threatened by your 'aggressive' plans for the website."
"I see. Well, we'll just have to watch her closely and try to get in her good graces, I guess. Hopefully, as Nick said, she'll come around when she sees we are really trying to help their business."
"Hopefully, but that may not be enough. We will also need to take her personal situation into account."
"Well, I can think of no one better qualified than you to help with that."
Jennifer smiled at the praise, and then they continued to discuss the day's events as they headed to do some network equipment and high-end digital camera shopping.